Government offices in Baitadi district grapple with employee shortagePublic offices in Baitadi are functioning under acting chiefs as employees don’t want to be posted to the remote district.
Dr Basantaraj Joshi, the acting medical superintendent at Baitadi District Hospital, is currently leading the institution. Though the hospital has the post of a ninth-level doctor, the health institution is being handled by the acting medical superintendent.
Dr Gunraj Awasthi, who retired just a few weeks ago as the chief of the provincial health directorate of Sudurpaschim, was the only office chief who led the Baitadi District Hospital since its establishment 29 years ago.
Awasthi was the only ninth-level doctor to have run the hospital since it began operation.
Besides the post for one ninth-level doctor, the district hospital has the posts for two medical officers as well. But the hospital does not have even a single doctor as per the posts. Four doctors appointed under contracts are currently providing services at the district hospital.
The Water Supply and Sanitation Division Office also has the post of an undersecretary. But the office is under the leadership of the section officer.
“The office has not had an office chief for the past 10-12 years. The acting chief has been leading the office even though it has the post of an undersecretary,” said Krishna Bahadur Bogati, the acting chief at the Water Supply and Sanitation Division Office.
Likewise, the Water Resources and Irrigation Development Office also does not have an office chief. The office has the post of a senior divisional engineer but it is led by engineer Sandip Dangol.
“The Water Resources and Irrigation Development Office in six districts of Sudurpaschim Province are being led by the acting chiefs since there aren’t any senior divisional engineers,” said Dangol.
Most of the government offices in Baitadi are running under the acting chiefs. More than a dozen government offices in Baitadi, including the Infrastructure Development Office, District Land Revenue Office, District Postal Office, District Coordination Office, Building Construction Office, Food Technology and Quality Control Office and Agriculture Knowledge Centre and Livestock Expert Centre, have been running without office chiefs.
Most of the government offices also do not have employees as per the posts allocated. Four posts of employees remain vacant in the District Administration Office.
Baitadi, for the first time, has a chief district officer of the joint secretary level. But according to information officer at the office Khagendra Bharati, the posts of one undersecretary, one chief administrative officer, one Nayab Subba (non-gazetted first class officer) and one accountant remain vacant.
The Water Supply and Sanitation Division Office also does not have employees as per its total allocated posts. The office says two posts of employees remain vacant now. Mahakali Customs Office has three posts but only one employee is handling the office.
The shortage of employees in the public offices has hugely affected service delivery in the district. Service seekers have been hit the hardest, as they have to wait for hours to get services at government offices.
“Service delivery is sluggish in almost all the government offices. Mainly people from remote villages who visit the district headquarters for services are the hardest hit,” said Shivaraj Bhatta of Dogadakedar Rural Municipality.
Chief District Officer of Baitadi Rajendra Dev Pandey admits that service delivery has been affected in several public offices due to the lack of senior officials and other employees.
According to him, people don’t want to be posted in the district since it is far from the national capital and lacks infrastructure.
“It is difficult to work in a remote district so people don’t want to come here. The government should encourage employees to work in remote areas by providing various incentives and facilities,” said Pandey.